Van Slyke 1B
The Dodgers defense has been utterly atrocious. Two huge errors contributed to the 2-3 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night in yet another extra inning game for the Dodgers. I’m beginning to feel extremely exhausted both mentally and physically from staying up and watching the Dodgers fail to remain cohesive in the field during these long drawn out extra inning losses. Not only do the Dodgers now have 22 errors in their first 21 games which is just behind the Washington Nationals who lead the MLB with 23 miscues, but they aren’t hitting either. I originally cited that the Dodgers had 23 errors on the season last night, but a scoring change from the April 13th game against the D-backs was changed to a base hit for Chris Owings instead of an error on Hanley. Not only is the defense horrendous so far this season, but the Dodgers also only have a team batting average of .235.
Yasiel Puig .254
Hanley Ramirez .234
Andre Ethier .220
Carl Crawford .217
Matt Kemp .196
As you can see by the above stats, the heart of the lineup just isn’t hitting. Dee Gordon leads the team with a .369 batting average, and the newly turned 26-year old infielder collected two hits and two stolen bases in the loss on Tuesday night. Gordon hit his head on the knee of Phillies third baseman Jayson Nix after sliding into third base with a stolen bag and had to be removed at the end of the seventh inning. Gordon did not suffer a concussion, but we hope the speedy second baseman will be okay since he is the only one playing inspiring baseball.
Not only is the offense and defense sputtering, but the bullpen has been taxed since the starters haven’t gone deep in their games. Ryu pitched well on Tuesday, but he only made it through 6 innings. No Dodger starter has made it to the ninth innings this season with Dan Haren going the longest in his last start with 7 1/3 innings on Saturday against the D-backs.
The Dodgers desperately need their ace back. Clayton Kershaw is tentatively going to pitch a rehab game in Rancho Cucamonga on Friday, and with Kersh’s eventual return the Dodger can move Maholm to the bullpen. Much like last April, the Dodgers are playing sloppily and uninspired. Luckily they have had the opportunity to play the D-backs eight times so far which accounts for a big chunk of their wins.
On Tuesday, Zack Greinke will be going to the bump and will be vying for an excellent 4-0 start to his season. The quirky right-hander wasn’t involved in the decision last time out against Arizona when the Dodgers lost 2-4. Greinke pitched well nevertheless and only allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 8 strikeouts and 2 walks in 6 innings. Greinke is 3-1 with a 2.45 in 5 games against the Phillies over his career. Ben Revere has given Greinke the most trouble in the past. He is hitting .429 against Zack with 6 hits in 14 at-bats. Tony Gwynn also has collected 4 hits in 6 at-bats against the Greinkster. Greinke has only had one base hit in 8 at-bats so far this year, but he was awarded his 2013 Silver Slugger Award at Dodger Stadium earlier this homestand.
Cole Hamels will be making his first start of the season for the Phillies after battling left biceps tendinitis. Hamels has pitched very well at
Dodger Stadium over his career with a record of 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts. The 30-year old San Diego born left-hander has an overall 3-1 record with a 1.76 ERA against the Dodgers in 7 starts. Hanley Ramirez has clobbered Hamels and has 17 hits against him including 10 doubles and 2 homeruns. Gonzalez and Kemp have also hit him well in the past, and even Andre Ethier is hitting .321 with 9 hits and 2 homeruns against the southpaw. Justin Turner is hitting .455 against Hamels so expect him to be starting tonight in place of the shaken up Dee Gordon.
The Dodgers will need to muster some honest to goodness offense and shore up their defense in order to stave off the series loss on Wednesday night. Hanley’s slump is really taking a toll, and I have honestly never seen him like this.
Prediction: Zack Greinke puts in quality start for the Dodgers and collects fourth victory.
First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on SNLA and CSN for Philadelphia viewers. Let us know your thoughts on the Dodgers troubles with the glove in the comments below.
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